With over 45,000 venues across the UK, it’s a constant challenge to stand out from the competition and an even bigger one to create and maintain customer loyalty.
While flawless service and memorable experiences (positive ones of course!) go a long way to achieving repeat custom, there’s lots more to keeping those customers coming back.
Over our years spent forming relationships with (and enjoying the hospitality of) some of the biggest (and smallest) names in the hotel industry, we’ve become pretty au fait with those all important touches that make your customers feel just that extra bit special.
A ‘thank you’ speaks a thousand words
It’s so true. And a little gift to show your appreciation of their custom goes a long way to encourage your guests to not only come back themselves, but refer your venue to family and friends.
By forming relationships with local businesses and producers, it’s easy to make those little presents more unique and personal to both you and your customers. Plus you get the added kudos of supporting local enterprise, which has both ecological and economical benefits for your business and the local community.
Talking of eco-credentials, gifts produced with a green-minded approach are sure to factor highly with your guests in favour of mass-produced gimmicks.
Reward loyalty with great benefits
Customer loyalty schemes are a fabulous tool for encouraging repeat visits. Demonstrating a level of appreciation that doesn’t go unnoticed, they can work on a formal tier system where the quality or value of reward increases with each visit or as simple as an informal offer of a complimentary drink when you recognise a familiar face.
A few ideas to consider…
• Free welcome drink
• Free desert
• % discount on whole meal
• % discount on 1 night’s stay
• Complimentary meal
• Complimentary bottle of Champagne
• 4th person dines free
• Free access to your spa
• Discounted package rates
From a simple occasion card sent in the post, to an invite to enjoy a complimentary meal or night’s stay, remembering your customer’s significant anniversaries is a great way to ensure they visit your venue again.
It goes without saying that on any occasion they accept your complimentary offer, the service they receive should be as exemplary as on their first visit, if you want them to keep returning.
In a world where reviews are easy to leave and reputation is everything, delivering absolutely flawless service from that first enquiry to that last goodbye (and beyond) is absolutely everything.
We’re not just talking ‘service with a smile’. Getting to know your customer, their motivations their likes, dislikes, hobbies, interests and family pets helps you build a profile of your customer so that you can tailor their experience to their liking – from the space you recommend they hire, to those little welcome presents and ‘thank you’ gifts.
Introducing your guests to your wider team and vice versa, is an easy way to put each party at ease and makes your guests feel like VIPs.
Forming a bit of an allegiance with that flustered event organiser, who is busy trying to impress their own boss or client, and juggle many balls, is a sure fire way to get them on side. They want their job to be as easy and pain-free as possible, so whether there is a task you can take off their plate or you can simply feed their need for caffeine or more substantial sustenance and, undoubtedly appeal to their sense of humour, you’re going to be remembered as a positive partnership.
It goes without saying that meeting client expectations and deadlines for fine tuning the details of their event, tells them that not only is their event in safe hands but they are important to you. If they are important to you, you will be sure to become important to them.
A big smiley welcome
Ok, it doesn’t even have to be that big… a simple note on a beautiful card with a personalised message for your guests can be a lovely, warm, welcoming touch.
But sweet treats such as chocolate, a welcome glass of fizz on arrival or a more personal gift for those higher paying guests of honour are also sure to go down a treat.
Factor in a follow up
Catching up with your guests via a personal phone call or email after their event or stay is guaranteed to demonstrate a genuine interest in their experience.
Give your customers time to mull over their thoughts and feelings, taking into account honeymoons and holidays they might be taking soon after their stay with you, but catch them at a time when their emotions are still simmering after their big day.
Prepare yourself with a cue card of questions to ask that are personal to them, from details of their honeymoon destination or plans after their stay with you, as well as any problems or issues that arose during their stay with you, which can help show how much you listened to them and respect their feedback.